The museum pass – a subscription to visit more than 200 Belgian museums – was used around 500,000 times in 2021 and generated almost €2.5 million in revenue for the sector, according to a statement from the cooperative museumPASSmusées.
The figures for visits show a 60% increase compared to 2020, while those for income show an increase of 65%, Belga News Agency reports.
Almost 90,000 passes were sold in 2021, over 50% more than in 2020.
“These figures prove that we are succeeding in our mission: to attract more and more people to museums. And we will continue to do so - in 2022, we still have many new museums in the pipeline,” said museumPASSmusées director Erika T'Jaeckx.
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The growth of the pass can also be seen in the number of museums joining the system. In 2021, 26 new museums joined the offer, including the Toy Museum, the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library, The Delta and the Tournai Archaeology Museum, bringing the number of partner museums to 211.
After 2020 saw the sector shut down twice due to the pandemic, the museum sector made cautious progress in 2021. Museums were able to remain open throughout the year, thanks in part to a range of health measures.
The museum pass was launched in 2018. For €59 a year, it allows free access to the permanent collections of participating Belgian museums and free or discounted visits to their temporary exhibitions.
The organisation is currently working on a digital version of the museum pass which will be launched in the spring.